All college students know how stressful exams can be. It’s important to study hard, but to also remember to take some time to care for yourself. I’ve always found cooking to be a huge comfort. A homemade mac and cheese recipe with a twist may be just the thing to get your mind off of exams. Buffalo mac and cheese from scratch with bacon bites is a delicious meal that won't make studying for exams so bad anymore. It could also be a tasty treat to reward yourself once you aced your exams! 

Now, before we start, you need to gather all of your ingredients.


1 lb. shell macaroni

3 tbsp. butter and 2 tbsp. melted butter

3 tbsp. all-purpose flour

2 cups. milk

1 cup. shredded cheddar

1 cup. shredded monterey jack

½ cup. ranch dressing

⅓ cup. buffalo sauce


Freshly ground black pepper

5 slices of bacon

Victoria Vargas

Step 1:

First, add salt to a large pot of boiling water. Cook your shell pasta to the instructions on your package, then drain pasta and set aside while you prepare the rest of your ingredients. Melt 3 tablespoons of butter in a pot over medium. Add 3 tablespoons of all-purpose flour and continue stirring.

Victoria Vargas

Step 2:

Now, add the 2 cups of milk to your mixture. Continue to mix this in for about 5 minutes until the mixture becomes thick. 

Victoria Vargas

Step 3:

Next, add 1 cup of shredded cheddar and 1 cup shredded monterey jack into the mixture and mix until it is fully melted. Add salt, pepper, ½ cup ranch dressing and ⅓ cup buffalo sauce in the mixture and stir. This is my personal favorite part of the recipe because the sauces add so much flavor instead of it being just a classic mac and cheese dish.

Victoria Vargas

Step 4:

Cook 5 slices of bacon in a pan on medium until crispy. This step is, of course, optional — you could even substitute the regular bacon for one of my favorites, turkey bacon. I always make sure to include it because I believe it adds a crunch to the mac and cheese that makes it taste so much better.

Victoria Vargas

Step 5:

Finally, it’s time to mix everything together. Get your cheese sauce together and pour that into your pan with the cooked pasta. Once the bacon is cooked, crumble it into your mac and cheese and stir until everything is mixed thoroughly. 

Victoria Vargas

Step 6:

Add some more salt and pepper to your mac and cheese and now it’s ready to eat. The bacon, buffalo and ranch sauces put a tasty twist on just the plain mac and cheese dish. If you're a mac and cheese lover, you have to try this recipe. It will make you never want to eat plain mac and cheese again.

Victoria Vargas